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 John Blashford-Snell

Big Hope 2 welcomes Colonel John Blashford-Snell 

John Blashford-Snell is one of the world’s most renowned explorers, leading more than 70 expeditions. These include an exploration of the infamous Blue Nile, making the first vehicle crossing of the Darien Gap, and navigating all 2,700 miles of the Zaire River. The last two having environmental, medical and scientific objectives.

In 1969, he helped form the Scientific Exploration Society. Following the success of Operation Drake, which involved 400 young explorers from 27 countries on a two-year circumnavigation, Operation Raleigh was formed in 1984. By 1992, it had enabled 10,000 young people from 50 countries to take part in expeditions around the world.

Blashford-Snell retired from the Army and as Director-General of Operation Raleigh in 1991, becoming Chairman of a £2.5 million appeal to establish a centre to provide vocational training and guidance in Merseyside. Known as ‘The Door’, the centre has helped over 40,000 less privileged young people. He also chaired The Liverpool Constructions Craft Guild, which promotes the training of skilled craftsmen in Liverpool.

The Colonel was awarded the Segrave Trophy (1974), the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1975), the Patrons Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (1993) and the Gold Medal of the Institute of Royal Engineers (1994). He has also written 15 books, is a broadcaster and lecturer, and leads expeditions worldwide.

Robert Elstone Everton Football Club’s CEO confirmed for The Big Hope 2

Robert Elstone was initially appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Everton in 2005, having developed a reputation as an expert in sports business consultancy. He arrived at Goodison from Deloitte, where he held the position as Director of the Sports Business Group.

He made a name for himself as Deloitte’s first ever full-time sports business consultant, acting as a successful advisor to leagues, clubs and sports-related organisations on a range of strategic and commercial activities. He also played a major role in the formation of the Scottish Premier League.

In 2000, Robert left Deloitte and moved to BSkyB as the Director of Football Business Affairs, working closely with four leading Premier League club. He returned to Deloitte in 2004 as a Director of the Sports Business Group, before making the switch to Goodison Park.

In his time at Everton, Robert has introduced a number of key strategic, organisational and structural initiatives that have led to improved financial performance, greater stability in the business and a strong, empowered Management team. He was appointed Acting Chief Executive at Everton in August 2008 and, in January 2009, the Club confirmed that Robert was to take up the position as permanent Chief Executive. 

 Baroness Ilora Finlay

Professor the Baroness Finlay of Llandaff joins Big Hope 2 line-up

Baroness Ilora Finlay is Professor of Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University, and established the Diploma/MSc in Palliative Medicine; and lead Palliative Care in Wales to ensure seven-day specialist services with 24/7 advice.

She is President of the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy, Vice President of Hospice UK and Marie Curie Care, and past-President of BMA, RSM and the Association for Palliative Medicine.

Baroness Finlay chairs the National Mental Capacity Forum for Ministry of Justice and Department of Health. She became a Life Peer in 2001, served on the Select Committee on Assisted Dying for the terminally ill, and now co-Chairs the think-tank Living and Dying Well. 

The Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords, was named Welsh Woman of the Year 1996-97 and has held Visiting Professorships in the Netherlands and Australia. In 2008, she was named 'Woman Peer of the Year'; and was named the 2007 Parliamentary Charity Champion. In 2014, Baroness Finlay received the Welsh Livery Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

Caroline Cox

Baroness Caroline Cox announced as Keynote Speaker 

Baroness Caroline Cox was created a Life Peer in 1982 and was a deputy speaker of the House of Lords from 1985 to 2005. She was Founder Chancellor of Bournemouth University; Chancellor of Liverpool Hope University from 2006 - 2013 and is an Hon. Vice President of the Royal College of Nursing. 

She was a founder Trustee of MERLIN (Medical Emergency Relief International) and is Founder and President of HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust). Her humanitarian work takes her to conflict and post-conflict zones, including the Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, Sudan, South Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda, the Shan and Chin peoples of Burma.

Baroness Cox said: "In 2008, I was fortunate to be part of The Big Hope. I am delighted and very proud to be invited back for The Big Hope 2. I am inspired and encouraged every time I visit Liverpool Hope University by the vision and support it provides to people of any age to be able to fulfil their potential.”

 Ian Gilmore

Latest discussion panel member announced as Professor Sir Ian Gilmore 

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore is an honorary consultant physician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. He holds an honorary chair at the University of Liverpool and an adjunct chair at Curtin University. 

After training in Cambridge, London and the US, he moved to Liverpool as a consultant in 1980. He is past-president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the British Society of Gastroenterology. He currently chairs Liverpool Health Partners, created to promote an Academic Health Science System.

Professor Gilmore chairs the UK Alcohol Health Alliance and the Department of Health Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group. He is a member of the Climate and Health Council. 

 Ivana Gabalova

Big Hope 2 welcomes Ivana Gabalova

Joining the Big Hope 2's Discussion Forum Panel is Ivana Gabalova from Anne Frank House.

Ivana works at the Anne Frank House as a trainer and project coordinator, teaching about a range of topics with a focus on critical thinking, dialogue, and the values of human rights and democracy. Her projects involve development of educational materials, teacher trainings, workshops for high school and university students, training of prisoners and guiding youth in becoming active citizens and developing their own projects.

Outside the Anne Frank House her research/activist focus is on counter-radicalisation and on rehabilitation of violent extremists. In 2016, she presented a campaign she helped develop at the United Nations. Ivana holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution and Governance from the University of Amsterdam.

 Myra Houser

Professor Myra Houser to join us as Keynote Speaker

We are delighted to announce Professor Myra Houser of Ouachita Baptist University will be joining us at Big Hope 2 as a keynote speaker.

Professor Myra Ann Houser is assistant professor of history and coordinator of the BA in Social Justice Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. An OBU graduate, she holds an MA from the College of William and Mary and PhD from Howard University. Her research focuses on legal solidarity and rhetorical connections between twentieth-century southern African liberation movements and their overseas colleagues.  This work has received funding from the Tokyo Foundation, Phi Alpha Theta, the American Historical Association, and Columbia, Princeton, Ouachita, and Howard.

She has published in Atlantic Studies, Safundi, Human Rights Review, and in edited volumes and professional blogs.  Currently, she is completing a manuscript on the history of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Stephan Wassong

Professor Stephan Wassong joins Big Hope 2

Big Hope 2 is pleased to announce Professor Stephan Wassong has joined the conference as a Discussion Forum Panel Member.

Stephan Wassong is Full Professor at the German Sport University Cologne where he is Head of the Institute of Sport History and Director of its Olympic Studies Centre since 2009. He is Executive Director of the international study programme Master of Arts in Olympic Studies. Since 2015, he has been member of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Education Commission. He has been appointed Adjunct Professor in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Professor Wassong said: “The Big Hope 2 will be a platform for academic, social and personal exchange. That`s why it is a pleasure for me to contribute to it.”


Big Hope 2

Winner of the $1m TED Talk Prize confirmed as speaker

Professor Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University and winner of the 2013 $1m TED Talk Prize, has been confirmed at the latest speaker at The Big Hope 2.

Professor Mitra was given the $1m TED Prize in 2013 in recognition of his work and to help build a School in the Cloud, a creative online space where children from all over the world can gather to answer 'big questions', share knowledge and benefit from help and guidance from online educators. 


Photo of Lord David Alton

Rt Hon Lord David Alton and Father Michael Lapsely confirmed for 2018!

We're delighted to confirm the Rt Hon Lord David Alton and Father Michael Lapsely will be attending The Big Hope 2 in 2018.

Lord Alton said: "The Big Hope is a brilliant opportunity to bring together a rising generation whose friendships, ideals, and leadership, can help create a more hopeful and just world than the one into which they were born.”

Lord Alton served for 18 years as a Liverpool Member of the British House of Commons before stepping down in 1997 when he became an Independent Crossbench Peer, serving in the House of Lords. He was first elected, to Liverpool City Council, while still a student at Christ College, Liverpool, (a constituent College of today’s Hope University) and became the City’s Deputy Leader and Housing Chairman. He was the youngest  member of the House of Commons and later his party’s Chief Whip, holding several Front Bench portfolios.

He currently serves in Parliament as Chair of the All Party Group on North Korea, was a founder of the parliamentary group on religious freedom and belief, and serves as an Officer of several other parliamentary groups. For his work on human rights he was created a Papal Knight by the Pope; received a Coptic award for advocacy; and in 2016 was awarded the Thomas More Religious Freedom Award.

He was a founder of the Jubilee Campaign and is a Board member of the charity, Aid to the Church In Need, chairman of the charity, The Christian heritage Centre, and is a patron or trustee of several charities.